Kochi: Kerala Blasters will be eyeing nothing less than a win when they take on Chennaiyin FC in their Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Tuesday.
Blasters are in third spot with 28 points from 16 games. Mumbai City FC and defending champions Hyderabad FC have assured themselves of the top-two slots and sealed direct passage to the semifinals. The race for the remaining four play-off spots is well and truly on and Blasters would be eager to pick up three precious points in the Southern derby.
Blasters, who have been hit by viral fever, have managed just a win - over bottom-placed NorthEast United at home - while losing all three away ties in their last four matches after an eight-match unbeaten run.
They were outclassed 4-0 by Mumbai City before going down 1-3 to Goa. A brace by Greek striker Dimitrios Diamantakos powered them to a 2-0 win over the Highlanders. Then came the shock 0-1 loss at the hands of ninth-placed East Bengal FC.
Blasters have found the goals hard to come by. They have scored just three goals from their last four games and all three have been netted by Diamantakos.
Blasters have two away ties and a home match left after Tuesday's encounter. Tricky away fixtures against Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan and a home tie against Hyderabad await them.
Blasters and Chennaiyin had played out a 1-1 draw in the earlier leg. Chennaiyin need a win to keep their slim play-off hopes alive. The visitors are in eighth spot with 18 points from 16 games and need to win all four of their remaining games to have any chance of progressing.
With both sides chasing a win, it promises to be an open game.